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Absolute return

Absolute return refers to the rate of return earned without reference to any other standard.

Active management

Active management is any investment process that is driven by an interpretive process rather than a mimicking process. Active management may be based upon a disciplined evaluation of fundamental statistics, trends, computer models or any other rational or irrational process. Active management does not necessarily imply the active trading of securities. The decision to hold onto a security in one's portfolio can be considered an action.

Actuarial assumptions

A group of reasonable assumptions about future inflation, rates of return, salary growth, probable death rates and probable disability. As a liability of the fund year by year in the future.

Actuary

A professional qualified to calculate the required contributions to balance the asset and liability aspects of a pension fund. Enrolled actuaries are allowed to practice law in tax courts.

After-tax return

The return from an investment after the effects of taxes have been taken into account.

Aggressive growth fund

A mutual fund whose primary investment objective is substantial capital gain.

Alpha

Alpha is the risk adjusted rate of return. It measures the rate of return earned after a market return adjusted by the risk level of the portfolio is subtracted. Mathematically, alpha is the 'y' intercept calculated using a linear regression of a series of rates of return.

Annualized rate of return

The annualized rate of return is the average (technically geometric average) return that if earned over the period covered would produce the same total compound rate of return that the actual set of fluctuating returns produced.

Annuity

An insurance-based contract that provides future payments at regular intervals in exchange for current premiums. Annuity contracts are usually purchased from banks, credit unions, brokerage firms, or insurance companies.

Arbitrage

Arbitrage is the process of purchasing a security and simultaneously selling a like (or identical) security short in order to capture the difference in price which may exist because of a short term discrepancy in the pricing of one or the other. In its purest sense, this is a riskless transaction. As an example, one could buy shares in Intel in New York for $66 and sell shares at the same time in Tokyo for $66.125. In doing so, the arbitrageur would pocket the 12-1/2 cents per share.

Asset

Anything owned that has monetary value.

Asset allocation

The process of repositioning assets within a portfolio to maximize return for a given level of risk. This process is usually done using the historical performance of the asset classes within sophisticated mathematical models.

   
 

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